In 1911, Albert Einstein Told Marie Curie To Ignore The Trolls

On Friday, a digitized trove of Albert Einstein's writings and correspondence was made available online. While perusing the collection, astrobiologist David Grinspoon found a letter addressed from Einstein to famed physicist, chemist, and two-time Nobel-Laureate, Marie Curie. That letter's gist? Ignore the trolls. » 12/07/14 3:00pm 12/07/14 3:00pm

Yes, Time Travel Is Possible; Here's How

Time travel's been one of man's wildest fantasies for centuries. It's long been a popular trend in movies and fiction, inspiring everything from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol to H.G. Wells' The Time Machine to the Charlton Heston shrine that is The Planet of the Apes. And with the opening of Interstellar » 11/05/14 1:25pm 11/05/14 1:25pm

A Brief History of Scientists Hunting for Time Travelers

Time travel is possible—or at least a lot of serious physicists say so. It's probably not possible to pull it off in a souped-up Delorean, but there are wormholes, Tipler cylinders, and other Einstein-inspired theories for how it could work. Which raises the question: Why haven't we met any visitors from another time? » 10/09/14 3:03pm 10/09/14 3:03pm

The Mathematician Who Showed How the US Could Be Made A Dictatorship

You might remember Kurt Gödel. He was last seen on io9 proving the existence of God, at least in theory. Legend has it he also found an odd clause in the Constitution which proves that the United States could be legally made a dictatorship. And he told it to immigration officers. » 7/18/14 7:30am 7/18/14 7:30am

Chart Reveals the Events in An Average American's Life, Week by Week

This chart takes the milestones of the average American life — everything from becoming eligible for a driver's license to getting (and leaving) a first job — and plots them all out into weeks. » 6/06/14 12:20pm 6/06/14 12:20pm

Why Do Your Tea Leaves Move To The Middle Of The Cup?

Swirl water in a cup, and the water will move to the outer edge of the cup. Sometimes, when you swirl hard enough, it will actually start "climbing" the walls of the cup, as the water collects at the outer edge. Now take a cup of tea with a few tea leaves in it and stir it with a spoon. The tea leaves collect in… » 5/06/14 6:40am 5/06/14 6:40am

Revised Cosmological Constant Predicts a Collapsing Universe

The going theory among cosmologists is that the universe will eventually rip itself to shreds owing to its ever-accelerating rate of expansion. Not so, say a pair of physicists who have just taken it upon themselves to reformulate an integral facet of general relativity: the cosmological constant. » 3/07/14 2:46pm 3/07/14 2:46pm

Why mistakes by great thinkers are important to scientific progress

Scientists have a low tolerance for errors, but as Freeman Dyson points out in a recent New York Review of Books article, some of our most important conceptual breakthroughs — from natural selection to general relativity — first got started as big mistakes. » 2/19/14 1:20pm 2/19/14 1:20pm

The real reason why Einstein came to believe in an expanding universe

According to legend, Albert Einstein changed his mind about the static state of the universe in 1931 after astronomer Edwin Hubble showed him evidence that the universe was expanding. A recent paper shows this is a myth — and that Einstein needed a lot more to change his mind. » 2/18/14 10:44am 2/18/14 10:44am

7 (More) Fun Facts That Are Total Lies

Did Nikola Tesla actually work as a swimming instructor? What's the deal with that famous photo of Albert Einstein and his therapist? Did they actually make radiation-aged bourbon back in the 1960s? Nope! » 12/26/13 1:52pm 12/26/13 1:52pm

New "comedy" video shows Einstein sexually assaulting Marie Curie

Apparently It's Okay To Be Smart thinks it's okay to be sexist. The science-themed YouTube show is taking a ton of flak after releasing a video portraying Albert Einstein as a lecherous old man who can't keep his hands off Marie Curie during Thanksgiving dinner. » 11/20/13 6:30am 11/20/13 6:30am

The 200-year-old mystery of Mercury's orbit — solved!

It wasn't too long after Newton published his laws of motion that people noticed something was off about them. To be specific, they were off by the orbit of an entire planet. And they remained off until Einstein, and general relativity, explained why Mercury moves the way it does. » 11/05/13 12:00pm 11/05/13 12:00pm

The bizarre theory that predicted a new state of matter

You may have heard of the Bose-Einstein Condensate because it is one of the states of matter. Like gas, liquid, or solid, it has its own properties. Predicted by a maverick physicist back in the early twentieth century, it was only proven to exist in 1995. And it's pretty damn weird. » 10/21/13 12:16pm 10/21/13 12:16pm

The nuclear physics letter that was ghost-written for Einstein

This letter, signed by Einstein, paved the way for the atom bomb. Except it's not Einstein's letter. It was actually written by a man named Leó Szilárd. » 10/13/13 8:00am 10/13/13 8:00am

The math problem that had Einstein asking for help from his assistant

There's an apocryphal story that still occasionally surfaces about how Albert Einstein flunked math in the fourth grade. That's not true. But he did occasionally need help with his math. One time, famously, from his own assistant. » 10/11/13 6:40am 10/11/13 6:40am

This Is Why Einstein's Brain Was Better Than Yours

Neuroscientists, along with pretty much everyone else, have long suspected that Albert Einstein's brain was somehow unique. A new study now affirms these suspicions, showing that his genius may have arisen from the way the hemispheres of his brain were so freakishly well connected. » 10/07/13 8:00am 10/07/13 8:00am

How much does antimatter weigh?

Antimatter is mysterious, dangerous, and rare. In fiction, it's at the core of Isaac Asimov's positronic brains, the engines on the Enterprise, and the bomb in Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. But in the real world, antimatter is fairly mundane stuff. If the entire universe turned into antimatter, we'd barely notice. Or… » 5/08/13 1:00pm 5/08/13 1:00pm

The only known photo of Einstein's Mass-Energy Equivalence formula

It's really grainy, and you can't make out the famous E=MC2 equation, but this is the only known photograph of the master hammering away at the chalkboard on his special relativity formula. » 5/03/13 7:00am 5/03/13 7:00am

Einstein's ex libris was characteristically badass

Way back before computers and e-readers there were these lovely things called books, and one of the best ways to indicate that a book was your book and not someone else's book was to stamp it with a decorative label commonly known as an ex libris (Latin for "from the books of..."), followed by your name. » 3/18/13 12:40pm 3/18/13 12:40pm

Zero Hour reveals the secret holy apocalypse clock in Einstein’s brain

Before I begin the recap, I want to make one thing clear: I love Zero Hour. I find it massively entertaining. Oh, it has flaws, and the characters are insane, and nothing makes any sense — but Zero Hour is doing exactly what it sets out to do, and making sense isn't one of those things. I may mock the show, but I can… » 3/01/13 7:00am 3/01/13 7:00am